Tips on choosing an Electrician

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Everyone needs an electrician! From time-to time, electrical stuff goes wrong and we scrabble around in a mad panic trying to find a local electrician to help. The electrical panel fails or the oven breaks, just at the most inconvenient time! 

It does not have to be like that. With proper forward planning we could all have a qualified electrician on hand ready to jump in and sort out any emergencies. 

Finding the right one, is key and thorough research is important so that you are happy with the contractor that you choose. You must be sure that they cover all of your potential needs including emergency call outs if required.

Things to bear in mind when selecting a local electrician:

  1. Response time – how quickly will they get to you and do they have a guaranteed response time? 
  2. Cost. This is important so that you do not get ripped off. Ask about the hourly cost. Also, is there any call out charge? Do they charge and retainer fee for having their services on stand-by?
  3. Are the electrical engineers properly qualified? One would assume so, but always worth checking.
  4. Do they have Public Liability Insurance? If not, avoid at all costs! Check that any such cover is adequate to cover anything that could possibly go wrong, damage your property or injury to the occupants of your home.
  5. Are they recommended? It is worth checking out the reviews on any contractor that you employ. Bear in mind that folk often leave bad reviews when something goes wrong! What you would expect, in those circumstances, would be for the contractor to have replied, perhaps apologising and saying what they are doing to fix the issue, rather than ignoring it.
  6. Contracts. These are always useful if something goes wrong. These should clearly state the level of service to be offered (emergency call out, response times etc) and set out the full range of services offered.

You would expect a local electrician to offer a wide range of services, some of which you may not have even thought about! Here are some of the things that you could expect an electrician to cover :

  1. Lighting issues – both indoor and outdoor lights. This would include checking circuits, fuse boxes with safety always in mind. 
  2. Standby Generators. If you have one, it should be maintained and checked on a regular basis; it is not something that you would use every day, but it must be ready to work when you need it. A good electrician can also provide and install this equipment as well as maintain it. 
  3. Smoke Alarms and Carbon monoxide detectors. These are essential safety features for every home and should be checked annually.
  4. Setting up Home Devices. As technology advances, we have an increasing number of devices that need both setting up and maintaining. Smart TV’s,  devises to control climate, entertainment, lighting etc. Whilst many of us are capable of dealing with such things, it is always re-assuring to know that someone is on hand if we are not adequately proficient or simply need help with troubleshooting. 
  5. Electrical Vehicles. Do you or will you need a charging point?  It’s comforting to know that your local electrician can both install and maintain such devices. 
  6. Hot Tub and Pool Wiring. You must get this right; water and electricity are not a great mix! Wiring and lighting must be installed and maintained by professionals 
  7. Service Upgrades. As technology moves on, the demands on power supplies increases and upgrades are needed. Older homes may have outputs as low as 60 or 100 amps and now require an upgrade. Older wiring may need replacing completely; a good electrician will give you impartial advice on this subject and not look to change the system without good cause.
  8. Accessories – such as switches, fans, light fittings, control panels should be readily available, preferably in stock, and with clear pricing. 

Top Tips

Finally, just a few tips on costings that will be of use :

  1. It is useful to get a full breakdown of the estimate of the cost of work to be done. If it is just a small job, that may not be an issue. However, with an eye on your expenditure, any large job should be carefully costed. Get the contractor to break down the cost of any products involved, and the cost of the labor. An estimate of the time involved should also be requested. You may wish to get this in writing
  2. It can sometimes be cheaper to buy in any accessories or products yourself, rather than buy them from the contractor. It is always worth comparing the cost.  Bear in mind that you will have to go out and buy what is required, so do factor in the cost of that, including any delivery costs. 
  3. Fixed Price. Sometimes it may be useful, if possible, to pin the contractor down to a fixed price. This is more relevant when faced with a large amount of difficult work. By doing this, you will be aware of the total cost and expenses will not run away with you. 

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